A few weeks ago, I hosted a day of limpias with Mexican curandera Estela Roman. A limpia is a spiritual cleansing that is based in the philosophy and practice of traditional Mexican healing, or curanderismo. To perform a limpia, the curandera uses herbs, flowers, prayers and songs to help purify the client’s mind, body and spirit.
One essential tool of the limpia is the egg, el huevo, which is held and passed over the person’s body to absorb any negative energy. Sometimes the egg picks up so much energy and heat that it will be partially cooked. Some curanderas will, after the limpia, crack open the egg into a glass of water and “read” the egg. This egg reading is a way of both divination and diagnosis to give more insight into what is going on for the person receiving the limpia.
Another essential element of the limpia is the smoke of the copal, which is also used for cleansing and protection. Copal is a tree sap that is used in many different Mexica ceremonies.
During the day of limpias at my house, Estela saw people in a back room of my house. I was in the kitchen preparing food and tea. After their limpias, people were given a hot cup of herbal tea and lots of yummy food to eat. A few women who also practice curanderismo came over to assist. After receiving their limpia, each person was taken care of by other expert healers. While limpias were going on in the back, many of us sat around the table eating, drinking tea and laughing all day long. There was a really good feeling that day.
Later, I realized that this is exactly the kind of HEALTH CARE that I would like to envision. Health care based in ancient healing traditions; health care that is really about CARING for the human being; health care that builds community; health care that honors and works with the healing power of Mother Earth.
I will continue to hold this vision and prayer in my heart.